"We're just trying to get the message out to our fan base, make sure you're careful with who you get your tickets from. If you're not a season ticket holder, Ticketmaster and the NFL Ticket Exchange are the only 100 percent sources of getting tickets," said Scott Hagel, vice president of communications, Chicago Bears.
Sharon Colbert and Shannon Fulytar had big plans for this weekend's Bear's game. It was to be wedding anniversary celebration for Fulytar and her husband, including friends coming into town for tailgating and, of course, the game. They just needed four more tickets so they turned to Craigslist as they had done before. But this time was different.
"Changing the time, changing the location. I really think that should have been a really big red flag and I didn't pay attention to it," said Colbert.
The women met the would-be ticket seller at a Loop restaurant at lunch time. But say they ended up surrounded by six men eager to get their cash and the women just wanted to get away.
"It was so scary. I've never been so scared in my life," said Fulytar.
Once away, they noticed some odd things about the tickets -- same serial numbers and different gates even though they were supposed to be together. They fear their tickets are fake.
"I think that we're fortunate that we're walking away with just $1,000 less. But I just don't want it to happen to anyone else," said Colbert.
The better business bureau recommends only buying tickets from a licensed broker; avoid paying in cash, instead use a credit card in case there is a problems you can dispute the charge.
The women expect they have lost their money, but hope others won't be duped.
"Everyone is looking on Craigslist to see what kind of deals they can get. So just making others aware of the situation," said Fulytar.
A Chicago Bears spokesperson said last week they confiscated 100 fake tickets and one person was arrested for selling fake tickets.
If you are considering buying tickets on the secondary market, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to ensure a successful transaction:
- Check to make sure the broker is licensed as required in the state of Illinois.
- Avoid paying cash for tickets in person from a stranger in case the tickets may be counterfeit.
- Do not ever wire funds for payment.
- Deal only with brokers that provide clear details concerning the terms of the transaction. For instance, you should know up-front the amount of the surcharge for each purchase; whether the tickets are guaranteed; how they will be sent to you and the timeframe for delivery; and the broker's refund, rescheduling and cancellation policies.
- Check if the ticket broker is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) and the Better Business Bureau.
- Visit several Web sites to compare prices and ticket availability for the event you're interested in attending.
- Verify the location of the seats on a seating chart provided by the venue to avoid purchasing non-existent seats or seats with obstructed views.
- Pay with a credit card or another secure form of payment so you can dispute the charge with your credit card issuer or bank.